The last time he was inside the cage, Alistair Overeem was busy roughing up Brock Lesnar and forcing him into early retirement. The world-class kickboxer was just too much for the former UFC Heavyweight Champ. Now that he has gotten past Lesnar, Overeem will get a shot at Junior Dos Santos’ Heavyweight Title. The giant Overeem hasn’t lost a fight since 2007, he packs a wallop, and is one of the most dangerous heavyweights in the UFC. If he finds a way to stop Dos Santos, which nobody in the UFC has been able to do, he will add a fourth title belt to his collection.
Alistair Overeem joined XX 1090 in San Diego with Scott and BR to talk about whether or not he was always as big as he is now, if there was any bad blood between Brock Lesnar and himself prior to the fight, what he thinks of Brock Lesnar as a fighter, and how different the attention is that he gets now after beating Lesnar.
Whether or not he was always as big as he is now:
“I started out as a light heavyweight. Actually my first fight when I was 17-years-old was a kickboxing fight in a really small gym and I didn’t get paid for it. I was a middleweight. I was I think 187 pounds. (Host: you were 187 pounds at 17-years-old?) Yeah. (Host: And you’re now 260?) Yeah between 260 and 275. I kept growing. Basically when I was 20 I was a heavyweight and then I signed with Pride, back then the biggest organization in the world and they started to weight categories because before it was just open weight. Anything goes. I was like okay I’m not really a big heavyweight because really big heavyweights back then were 260, 280, even 300, or 320 pounds so I was first going to cut weight to light heavyweight and basically fight everybody there, get all the experience, get all the technique because at the time that was a harder weight class and then I’m going to go all in in the heavyweight class. That’s basically what I did. I fought everybody at light heavyweight. Won a couple and lost a couple. My best achievement was being 3rd in the light heavyweight Grand Prix in 2005. Then I lost to Shogun, lost to Little Nog, and then I got some injuries and was like you know what? It’s time to step it up a little bit. We’re gonna go to heavyweight.”
If there was any bad blood between him and Lesnar before their fight:
“No. Not at all. I respect Brock for what he did. Great for the sport, great for the UFC, and I mean he came in there with minimum experience and he took on the strongest heavyweights in the world and he beat them and he became champion. That is something that I think earns respect and admiration. He pulled it off. Now it’s come a time where his game needed to be upgraded and he didn’t upgrade it in time. Then you’re going to fall to other fighters because the sport is always adapting and always changing.”
On Brock Lesnar as a fighter:
“He is what I call one-dimensional, but a very good one-dimensional. I think he’s like 275 pounds of mass coming atyou with violence, taking you down and doing his thing so he was really good at what he did but the problem with him is if you’re too one dimensional people are really clever and catch up because there are certain ways to beat certain opponents. That’s one of my strengths. I always change, I always adapt, I always improve.”
Whether or not the attention on him has picked up since his last win over Lesnar:
“Definitely yes. There’s a lot of attention now and capitalizing while I can. The next fight is going to be for the title. I’m now a title contender for the UFC, which is going to be my fourth belt.”
When he thinks the fight with Junior Dos Santos will be:
“I think it’s going to happen sooner rather than later.”
What his strategy will be against Dos Santos:
“There’s different ways to beat Dos Santos. Basically the way I see it is I’m bigger, I’m more experienced, I’m better, better in the stand-up, better on the ground, and obviously he’s a very dangerous opponent but there’s so many ways to beat him. I still have to sit down and study him a little bit but anything is possible with him.”